Paris France Travel Review

Paris, France Images/Photos
Images of Paris, France

Did you know: The Mona Lisa, the most famous painting in the world, let alone the Louvre, has no eyebrows. It was the fashion in Florence at the time to shave them off.

Paris, France Map

Art is everywhere and visiting each section of Paris brings a different flavor, whether you are in the Latin Quarter, Montmartre, Montparnasse or any of the 20 arrondissements that subdivide the city. Each section is filled with art galleries and many of the parks have paintings by local artists trying to make both a living and their mark as a great artist. Paris is home to some of the best art museums in the world. Paris, France - LouvreIf you are an art lover like us, plan on spending at least a day in the Louvre, which houses the world-famous Mona Lisa, Winged Victory of Samothrace, Venus de Milo, as well as lesser-known, but equally exquisite paintings and sculptures. Lovers of Impressionist art can spend a delightful afternoon in the Musee d'Orsay, with works by Van Gogh, Monet, Renoir and Degas. There are even museums dedicated to specific artists such as Picasso and Dali. If your finances allow, set aside some money to buy a painting or sculpture from one of the many art galleries throughout the city. This makes visiting the galleries more fun and will provide you with a memory to last a lifetime.

For those with a passion for architecture, a visit to Sainte-Chapel, located within the compound of the Ministry of Justice on the Ile de la Cite and an easy walk from the Notre Dame, is a must. Built in the 13th century by Louis IX to house holy relics, this church is notable for the towering stained glass windows depicting various scenes from the Bible.

Paris, France Street ViewBut what about the food? Well, it's exceptional, of course!! Paris has many fine (and expensive) restaurants. Some of us preferred the local patisseries, with counters filled with delectable sandwiches, salads and pastries. The prices were inexpensive and the food left you saying...ooh la la. A favorite past-time is to sit outside a cafe drinking wine, discussing the days events and watching the people walk by. Wine can be moderately priced and is often of superior taste and value to that exported to the United States. Those who enjoy wines should try a glass of Sancerre, a dry, crisp and fruity delight. Paris is best known for its wine, cheese, pastry and sauces. The food is always fresh and prepared perfectly!

Paris, France - Arc de TriompheAnd history - yes Paris has that too. Though not as ancient as Greece, Egypt or Italy, Paris provides us a glimpse into survival, as it managed to weather many occupations including the Romans and Germans. I suspect this might explain their ambivalence to foreigners and conviction to maintaining the French culture. If you are interested in learning about their history, visit the Arc de Triomphe, built by Napoleon to honor his returning armies, though he was deposed before it was finished. During WWII, the German troops proudly marched through the Arc as they entered Paris for occupation. You can see the tomb of Napoleon inside the church at the Hotel des Invalides and there are several museums dedicated to military history. Other famous sites include the Eiffel Tower, the Cathedral de Notre Dame and the Basilique du Sacre-Coeur. From the steps of the Sacre Coeur, a panoramic view of Paris can be had, and is well worth the trip!

Paris has also been the home of many famous expatriates. Montparnasse was a favorite hangout for the 'Lost Generation' in the 1920's and 30's. During that time one could find Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Henry Miller, Gertrude Stein and Josephine Baker strolling the streets or discussing literature in the cafes. Ernest Hemingway wrote his first successful books here including A Movable Feast about the area and The Sun Also Rises. Henry Miller wrote the Tropic of Cancer, a review of his life in Paris, which was initially banned in the United States.

Although Americans can complain about French haughtiness, our experiences were, with few exceptions, quite the contrary. We found that any attempt to speak French in shops, restaurants or at the museums was met with smiles and often, friendly answers in English! Paris is a people friendly city.

France - Palace of VersaillesThe best way to get around is by walking and the subway system. There are also trains that take you outside the city to places like the Palace of Versailles. All are easy to navigate, even if you don't speak French. Paris is the home for 'haute couture', so expect to see some of the best dressed people in the world. While Parisian women "of a certain age" still are among the most elegantly dressed in the world, a recent visit surprised us... the dress of younger Parisians has become far more casual than I had remembered from past trips. Still, if you don't want to feel out of place, leave the t-shirts and sneakers at home. Add a beret and a gorgeous scarf to even your casual clothes and you will feel right at home!